Competes with: Audi S4, BMW M340i, Mercedes-AMG C43
Looks like: A slightly hotter version of the new 2020 CT5
Powertrain: 355-horsepower, twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 with 10-speed automatic transmission; rear- or all-wheel drive
Hits dealerships: Early 2020
Cadillac insists its new CT5 sedan is not a direct replacement for the outgoing CTS, that it’s a different animal in the brand’s new 2020 sedan lineup. If that’s the case, the new 2020 CT5-V the brand unveiled yesterday makes a little more sense, as it’s assuredly not a direct replacement for the 640-horsepower CTS-V. Cadillac’s new plans for the V-Series models have reduced them to hotter versions of the existing Sport trims of the new sedans (the entry-level CT4, compact CT5 and larger CT6) instead of the track monsters that prior V-Series vehicles had been. The goal is to make the V-Series more affordable and accessible to more buyers without the crazy performance upgrades of past V-Series models.
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Styling changes for the CT5-V are minimal. The blacked-out trim of the CT5 Sport continues here with slightly more aggressive front and rear treatments, unique V-Series mesh grilles, unique rear diffusers and quad exhaust tips. The car receives standard 19-inch wheels, and high-performance summer tires for the rear-wheel-drive versions or all-season high-performance tires for all-wheel-drive models (although you can specify summer tires for those, too).
Changes inside changes for the new V-Series are even less notable, limited to a new instrument cluster and V-Mode steering wheel button. The button activates a special driving mode that changes all settings to their most aggressive. The carbon-fiber trim from the CT5 Sport is present, while orange piping on the dark leather seats is new. Elsewhere, the interior follows the route of a well-equipped model slotted in above the Sport trim.
Under the Hood
This is where most of the changes have been made. Unlike previous V-Series models, the changes have created a car that’s more capable and aggressive than the Sport model but not a full-on muscle car. For the CT5-V, the twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 present in the Sport gets a mild bump in output to 355 horsepower, up from 335 hp elsewhere. Like the Sport, power runs through a 10-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel drive is standard; all-wheel drive is optional. Cadillac reworked the suspension and steering for a more aggressive feel, while the CT5-V also gets fourth-generation Magnetic Ride Control, the brand’s next-generation adaptive suspension. An electronic limited-slip differential is standard, while larger Brembo brakes up front offer electronically adjustable pedal feedback.
On the electronics front, a Performance Traction Management system helps put power to the ground, while five different selectable drive modes can tune the car’s various systems to your preference. A launch-control function is also newly available in case you want to rip off some repeated acceleration runs. Cadillac’s Super Cruise semi-autonomous, hands-free highway driving system will also be available sometime after the car goes on sale, but all Cadillac would say is that it’s coming in “calendar year 2020.”
Cadillac says to expect more news regarding V-Series models, and we should hear about it sometime in the next few weeks. It’s likely that a hotter version of the CT5, something edgier and higher-performance, is on tap; it may even offer a manual transmission. This new CT5-V is not the high-performance variant, but at least it shouldn’t cost much more: Cadillac says that the V-Series will be about $4,000-$5,000 more than a CT5 Sport, making it accessible to a lot more people.
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